Teenage pregnancy cases are on the decline in Trashigang, according to hospital records.
In 2015, a total of 49 teenage pregnancy cases were registered with the dzongkhag which reduced to 45 in 205 and 21 last year.
A 22-year old mother of one said that she was 17 and in class XI when she became pregnant.
“My boyfriend and I had been in a relationship for almost three years and though both of us were aware of the consequences of getting involved physically, we went ahead with it any way. And I ended up pregnant despite using contraceptives,” she said.
She had to go through the trauma of medical complications and social and emotional problems.
“The greatest heartbreak came when my boyfriend refused to accept the child as his. More than anything, I was worried if I would be able to register my child in census without a father.”
Another woman, a mother of two children said that she became pregnant when she was in grade XII. “My partner was very supportive when I got a chance to continue my education but it was difficult for us to financially as he was also a student,” she said adding that her parents had to look after her siblings.
Besides struggling economically, she was ignored by her mates.
However, the number of teenage pregnancy cases registered in the dzongkhag has been declining over the years.
The assistant Dzongkhag Health Officer, Tandin Dorji, said that the number of teenage pregnancy cases has been decreasing over the years as they are conducting advocacy programs every year. “We mainly focus on colleges, schools in the dzongkhag and in every gewog.”
Tandin Dorji said that most teenage pregnancy cases are related to consequences of alcohol consumption, lack of parental guidance and peer pressure.
Meanwhile, the owner of Olo pharmacy in Trashigang said that ontraceptives are mainly purchased by youth.
“Sometimes, more than five customers a day come asking for contraceptive pills.”
He said advocacy programs seem to be working as even the illiterate people buy contraceptives.
“Compared to past years, the number of customers asking for contraceptives has increased over the years,” he added.
Kanglung, the educational hub in the dzongkhag has the highest incidences of teenage pregnancy cases with 15 teenagers reported pregnant within three years between 2015-17.
“The teenage pregnancy rate is higher in Kanglung gewog compared to the other 14 gewogs as Kanglung has more number of institutions with large number of teenagers,” said Tandin Dorji.
On the other hand, Merak gewog reported 14 teenage pregnancy cases and Yangneer, 13 till date.
Meanwhile, Tandin Dorji said that advocacy and awareness programs are conducted in order to reduce teenage pregnancies. “Some of the reasons leading to teenage pregnancy are that they fail to make use of emergency contraceptive pills and condoms.”
He said that teenage pregnancy is a concern and especially in the east, the numbers are quite high. “We have to address this as soon as possible.”
Tandin Dorji said that the authorities will continue with the advocacy programs and will mainly focus on some of the targeted areas.
Jigme Wangchen from T/gang